“Why were your host brothers playing with a plate?” Another trainee asked me.
“Because it was a steering wheel, duh,” I said.
After a full day of intensive Malagasy immersion, I always feel relieved to understand something as universally obvious as a kid pretending to drive a car. So much about our homestays make us feel like toddlers relearning how to take care of ourselves, but when I see my host brothers spinning a round, straw place mat in front of them and making wrrr-ing noises, I get it. Language barriers gone, I fake shift into second gear and smile as if to say “wanna race?”